Jed McCulloch, a mean disgraced retired Lawyer, is asked to assist in the defense of a teenage girl, Mary Beth Reagan, accused of murdering her new-born baby and facing the death penalty.
Bill Corsair, a corporate lawyer killing time in Abilene whilst his ageing mother slowly dies, reluctantly takes on the case and turns to an experienced criminal lawyer to help him prepare a defense. The ill-matched team is further hindered by the reluctance of the defendant to offer any defense or to reveal the true circumstances behind the pregnancy.
His assistant, the fiery and independent Ally May, is resentful of McCulloch; regarding him as a washed-up has-been with too many enemies in Abilene. And McCulloch certainly has many of those; from the dynamic Prosecuting Attorney Ben Davis, who was Jed's apprentice, to Judge Margaret Ramirez, the woman he deserted at the altar on their wedding day.
McCulloch must now face his past and his damaging actions whilst helping a reluctant lawyer construct a credible defense. All against the background of small town prejudices and an accused girl who remains silent.